City of Montreal orders social intervention teams to support the homeless amid COVID-19 pandemic
MONTREAL -- Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante has mandated the Social Development Society (SDS) to ensure social intervention teams are deployed to support homeless people at metro stations on the orange and green lines.
"The closure of day centres and certain services in emergency accommodation places forced people to find refuge in the metro system,” said Plante in a news release. “By providing more support to vulnerable people, we hope to be able to improve cohabitation in the metro and in public space and to offer people in homelessness the appropriate resources, both in terms of accommodation and food aid.”
The SDS teams will support the intervention teams of the SPVM and the STM who are already on the ground. The SDS also works closely with street workers from community organizations and the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Ile-de-Montreal.
The first intervention teams began their rounds this weekend at priority stations in the city centre.
Over 130 homeless people were met on Saturday and Sunday by a team of front-line workers who offered them psychosocial support and information on existing resources.
STM employees and SDS teams will refer people experiencing homelessness to the appropriate resources and minimize the number of police interventions by acting as mediator. Considering the health crisis, workers will also inform them of the importance of respecting public health directives, such as practicing physical distancing and banning gatherings.
Plante announced that a fourth drop-in centre will open its doors tomorrow at Dawson College, near Cabot Square .
Three drop-in centres have already been set up at the Grande Bibliotheque, inside the Francis-Bouillon arena, and in the Saint-Georges Anglican Church.
Five outdoor day centres have also been set up to offer homeless people meals, access to health stations and support from social workers.
A new shelter will open its doors in the evening of April 20 at the Maurice-Richard arena, located in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough to meet the need for emergency accomodation.
Since the start of the health crisis, the city has opened shelters at the Guy-Favreau Complex, the downtown YMCA, the Bonsecours Market and at the Jean-Claude-Malepart centre.